On Tuesday, the Tennessee Democratic Party hosted the Middle Tennessee ‘Gubernatorial Debate’ to determine which candidate gets to run against Gov. Bill Lee.
The candidates, Dr. Carnita Atwater; Dr. Jason Martin; and Councilman J.B. Smiley, Jr. will face off against one another in the August 4 Primary Election.
The debate centered around gun control, education funding and healthcare.
The candidates are facing a significant uphill battle. Donald Trump won Tennessee by more than 60% in 2016 and 2020. A Democratic candidate has not won a statewide race since 2006, when Phil Bredesen won re-election as governor
When asked how they plan to beat incumbent Gov. Bill Lee, the candidates gave varying responses.
“I believe in an action plan,” said Dr. Carnita Atwater. “As Democrats, we should have put together an action plan a year ago,” Atwater said that she believes fliers and advertisements will help.
Dr. Jason Martin said: “This race can absolutely be won. You have to form an inclusive platform that applies to Red Tennessee and Blue Tennessee.
“Those 80/20 Trump counties, they’re hurting right now. Their schools are crumbling, their hospitals are closing, they’re losing businesses because there’s no access to healthcare. So we’ve got to engage them and tell them our agenda is their agenda.”
According to Councilman J.B. Smiley, Jr: “We have to go to every single community. We have to figure out how to get the non-voting base excited about this election. We need to figure out how to get the 1.6 million registered voters who are staying at home excited about this election.”